The desktop wallpaper on my laptop bears a quote with just three words in gold lettering on a marble effect background. “You got this”. I set it by accident when looking for an inspirational quote for another blog post, but I decided to leave it there. Now every time I log in to study for my diploma, respond to emails or create a blog post, it’s the first thing I see. Subconsciously I think I set it on purpose to remind myself that I’m good enough. Whatever it is that I’m about to try and do – prepare the framework for my next assessment, start putting together that presentation for the next marketing meeting or spill my feelings into a blog post – it’s a self-reminder that I can, and will, smash it. I’ve learnt how important this is. To be nice to yourself. To be self-encouraging and supportive, as we live in a world where we’re constantly told and made to feel that we’re not good enough at all.
I come from a performing background. From the age of 3 up until my early 20s, you could normally find me on a stage. I am privileged to say that I’ve sung musical theatre solo numbers in front of thousands on London stages like The London Palladium, Royal Albert Hall and Drury Lane. I’ve tap danced with Mickey and co at Disneyland Paris. I’ve toured with Joseph and The Technicolour Dreamcoat and pantomimes whilst the rest of the kids my age were in maths or science lessons. I guess you could say my childhood wasn’t a dull one… But it came with its downfalls.
Anyone who has ever experienced the showbiz life will tell you that it’s not for the fainthearted. As fabulous as it can be sometimes, it opens you up to a world of rejection. Not getting that part you worked so hard for in the latest production. Being told by a dance teacher at college that you’re “a bit too big to be a professional dancer”. Desperately trying for 5 years to beat 3,000 others to 1 of the 20 places at drama school, only to have the dreaded rejection letter land on your doormat another year running. It was exhausting. And quite honestly at times, miserable.
There’s no feeling like the adrenaline rush of being under the spotlight doing what you love. But there’s also no feeling like giving it 150% in an audition and watching the director of the musical theatre course cross your name off his list openly in front of you, in such a cutthroat fashion. You had to have such a thick skin for that. You had to just accept that the industry didn’t need you – you needed it. You had no choice but to just pick yourself up, dust yourself down (sometimes, quite literally) and get on with it. Pretend it hadn’t affected you. That it hadn’t made you feel just that little bit more worthless.
“We’re always looking for that something better. We don’t know what that “something” is, but we know it exists”
I learnt a lot from my performing days. I learnt that everyone you compare yourself to, compares themselves to everyone else too. It’s a sad reality that we have become accustomed to in every aspect of our lives – career, looks, relationships, pointless belongings. We’re always looking for that something better. We don’t know what that “something” is, but we know it exists as other people’s picture perfect Instagram themes tell us so. We ignore that annoying niggling voice at the back of our heads that tell us “but you know that isn’t real” in favour for the movie that is running through our heads of how much better things could be. Of how much better we could be.
And that’s the problem. If you don’t feel that you can be enough, then how can anyone else think that? Unless you genuinely learn to love yourself with every fibre of your being, and believe that you are deserving of someone wonderful, no one is going to love you. That’s the harsh truth. We are instinctive beings and can pick up on negative vibes whether we realise it or not. No one wants to be around that. We want to be around people who not only feel good within themselves, but who also have the ability and the desire to make others feel good.
You need to find that inner self-love. There is much more right with you than is wrong with you. Write down 5 things you love about yourself, or if you’re struggling, ask a close friend to name 5 things they love about you. It may feel quite self-indulgent at first, and if so that’s exactly why you need to do it. It shouldn’t feel self-indulgent, it should feel natural. It’s basic instinct to love the skin you’re in. If you don’t, you need to work to fix that.
“There is much more right with you than is wrong with you”
Most of our internal battles are self-made as our mind is a very convincing liar. It will often take a small problem and escalate it very quickly until you’ve subconsciously made it far worse than it actually is. Don’t give in to negative thoughts. Don’t give them that power over you. Yes, sometimes life is shit. Occasionally there is nothing we can do to prevent it. That’s when you will need to love yourself the most and learn to accept love from other people. I for one, can appreciate how difficult this can be.
Opening yourself up to someone and allowing them responsibility over your feelings is… Terrifying. It’s fucking terrifying. You finally get yourself to a point where you feel strong, you’re happy with who you are and you’re ready to share that with someone. To extend your loving capabilities from yourself, onto someone else. So you let your guard down and allow someone in. All I will say is, choose wisely. Take your time. Love deeply and honestly, but only with the right person. You should never solely depend on someone else to confirm your worth. You are good enough on your own and whoever is lucky enough to land you will know that. You will accept them into your life not as a necessity, but an accessory to your already fulfilling, prospering world and it will feel good. It will feel right.
“Your mind is a convincing liar. Don’t give into negative thoughts”
It’s very easy to let someone else’s words and actions have you come crashing back down again. To have you unravel so quickly, undoing all of the work on yourself you have achieved. Don’t let them. Unless they are a first class d***, chances are they haven’t done it intentionally. They’re trying to figure out all of this too and are looking after number 1. It might be a reminder that you need to do more of that. Get back to loving yourself, repeat your self-affirmations. You are enough as you are. You are complete as you are. Beautifully imperfect and uniquely flawed. Embrace that, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
You might not be where you want or need to be in life right now, but you are getting there. You are your own solution and you ARE good enough. Strive for progress, not perfection. Find peace within yourself through your own misfortunes and learn from them, not for anyone else but for you. Just keep swimming and whenever the tide gets a little too strong, remind yourself how far you have actually come. Turn around and have a real look. It will be much further than you realise. Then realise that you did all of that on your own. You see? You got this.